Church History

The church building of Christ Church on Lostock Road was consecrated on Saturday October 4th 1969 to serve the Parish of East Davyhulme in the Diocese of Manchester. It is a relatively new Church in the locality, but its history and origins can be traced back over 800 years.

Davyhulme, Urmston and Flixton have not always been the suburban area we know today. In the mid 18th Century, before the Industrial Revolution, they were remote rural communities whose way of life had changed little for hundreds of years. Davyhulme itself was a small hamlet of farms and remote cottages.

The Parish Church serving the area was St. Michael’s Church at Flixton which dates back to the 12th Century and is built on the site of an even earlier Priory. 800 years ago the inhabitants would have had to walk great distances across footpaths and fields, carrying lanterns after dark, to go to Church.
(St Michael's church taken from The Leech Family Diaries 19th Century Manchester History http://www.leechdiaries.com)

As the Industrial Revolution began to gain momentum across the country so the local rural community began to change with it, slowly at first. In 1830 the first Passenger Railway, between Manchester and Liverpool was built, which although only skirted the local area coincided with an increase in population and better transport generally. As Flixton and Urmston began to expand, the need for another church led to the building in 1867 of St. Clement’s Church on Manor Road in Urmston. By 1873 the Cheshire Lines had built a Railway from Manchester to Warrington through the area with stations at Urmston and Flixton. This opened up the possibility of commuting and the better transportation of goods in and out of the area. The population continued to expand so that by 1889 the Foundation Stone of yet another Parish Church, St. Mary the Virgin, was laid to serve the new parish of Davyhulme

The three parishes were relatively free from industry and still very much rural in their nature. Davyhulme being the most rural with many farms and cottages. However, in 1894 the Manchester Ship Canal opened. With it began the changes which made the Davyhulme we know today.

The route of the Ship Canal was planned through the estate of Sir Humphrey de Trafford, whose family had owned land in and around Davyhulme since 1219 and after whom the local authority area of Trafford is named. He lived in Trafford Hall on the Trafford estate, which is roughly the area now known as Trafford Park industrial estate. However, he died before the completion of the canal and his son Sir Humphrey Francis de Trafford, in 1889, sold part of his land to Manchester Corporation to build the Davyhulme Sewerage Works which served the ever expanding population of the industrialised city.

Sir Humphrey Francis de Trafford started selling off the rest of the estate in 1900 for Industrial Development. This led to one of the largest concentrations of industry and engineering in the world right next door to the three parishes of Urmston, Flixton and Davyhulme. (See promotional pamphlet for Trafford Pak in 1905.)

Skilled workers came from all over to work in "The Park," as the industrial area became known. For some it seemed sensible to move nearer their work so the local population expanded with Urmston and Flixton growing rapidly and Davyhulme following close behind particularly between the two world wars. Until 1930 Davyhulme remained the more rural area, abounding in country walks through fields and meadows; but during the 1930s an expansion in building took place. The Second World War halted building for about a decade so the Davyhulme estate was completed in the 1950s.

This expansion increased the potential number of parishioners at St Mary’s, the Parish Church of Davyhulme. The church was some distance from the new estate, which probably explains why the original plans for the development contained planning permission for a Church. Therefore, in 1943, the Vicar of St. Mary’s opened a Sunday School in Canturbury Road School (now Davyhulme Primary School) which was a great success having a membership of 200 by 1954.

Subsequently it was decided to open a "Mission Church" of St Mary’s to serve the community around the new development in the east of the parish.This was a temporary brick and timber construction on Whalley Avenue alongside where the M60 Motorway now runs. This temporary building was in use for 15 years.

By 1959 it was obvious that the area needed to be a parish in its own right and the Conventional District of Christ Church, Davyhulme was formed.

In 1963 the first meeting of the New Church Committee took place. By mid 1964 the merits of concrete versus brick and various plans and models were being considered. In 1965 the new site on Lostock Road was given planning permission.

Around this time, the land of Moss Farm between Kingsway Park and the Motorway was developed as a new housing estate, increasing the size of the parish further.

The Foundation Stone for the new church was laid by Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Kent on the Feast of Corpus Christi, 25th May 1967.

After all the excitement of planning and the laying of the foundation stone, instead of building work commencing there was a setback. It became apparent, after accurate costings, that the Architects plans were too costly by about £15,000. Therefore, in early 1968 a new Architect was appointed with a less ambitious scheme. The contractors commenced work in September of that year and by May 1969 the walls and roof were up.

September 28th 1969 saw the last Service at the old Mission Church, which was subsequently sold in 1970 and financed the building of the Parish Centre.

On Saturday October 4th 1969 the new parish church of Christ Church, Davyhulme was consecrated by the Lord Bishop of Manchester. This is the church we still gather to meet in today.

The parish boundary was extedned in 2017 on the northern side to a boundary at the Bridgewater canal and the Manchester Ship canal. To the east the boundary remains Park Way and the M60 motorway, with Winchester Road and Crofts Bank Road forming its southern and western boundaries. The parish includes the Trafford Centre and the proposed Trafford City development.

On Sunday 6th October 2019 the congregation celebrated the 50th anniversary of the consecration of our church when Revd. Dr David Walker, Bishop of Manchester joined us to lead our service. Also present was the Stretford MP, Kate Green and the Deputy Mayor of Trafford.

 

A more detailed account of the early years of our church's life can be read in the booklet 'Our Living Church.' This was written to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the church's opening. The booklet is available here as a PDF and ebook:

Our Living Church PDF

Our Living Church Kindle book

Our Living Church ePub book